It's a little past the halfway point of 2012, but mid-July still seems like a good time to round up the albums that came out this year and simply failed to meet our expectations. Some of those expectations were admittedly (and deservedly) sky-high — leading to decent records that still felt like a bummer — and some were so modest we're in disbelief that they weren't met. In any case, we All Shook Down writers decided to weigh in on the 10 albums of 2012 that have so far proved most disappointing. Here's what we got.
[Boy Toy, Inc./Live Nation/Interscope]
Guess what, Madge? When the whole pop landscape's turned into one wub-wubbing, whomp-whomping, oonce-oonce-ing neon foam party, you're the person we want to provide some relief. With MDNA, we wanted you to show a way forward from the endlessly '90s-excavating Eurobeat obsession that passes for pop music these days. But instead of doing that, instead of adding even just the slightest bit of your own freaky and/or inventive twist, you fell in line and laid vocals over mostly banal big-room beats from Martin Solveig and Benny Benassi, sounding like lesser artists 20 years your junior. Even the presence of two of pop's most promising young females — Nicki Minaj and M.I.A. — couldn't save the bland “Give Me All Your Luvin'.” The fact that you point out here that “every record sounds the same” just makes us sadder that yours does, too. — Ian S. Port